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Project Information

Title: Monitoring long-term changes in forage fish distribution, relative abundance, and body condition in Prince William Sound

Project Year and Number: 2019: 19120114-C

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Mayumi Arimitsu, USGS

Assisting Personnel: None

Research Location:

Restoration Category: Monitoring

Injured Resources Addressed: Barrow's Goldeneye , Common Loons , Common Murres , Cormorants , Harlequin Ducks , Killer Whales , Kittlitz's Murrelets , Marbled Murrelets , Pacific Herring , Pigeon Guillemot , Pink Salmon , Rockfish , Sea Otters , Sockeye Salmon

Abstract: Identifying drivers of change in forage fish populations is key to understanding recovery potential for piscivorous species injured by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The goals of the Gulf Watch Alaska (GWA) forage fish monitoring project are to provide information on the population trends of forage species in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and to better understand how underlying predator-prey interactions influence recovering species and pelagic ecology within Prince William Sound (PWS) and the GOA. Sampling in FY17 (FY18 sampling begins Sept 11, 2018) indicated predator and prey abundances in PWS were low and forage species such as capelin and sand lance continued a 4-year trend of low occurrence in seabird diets in the GOA. Our continued sampling will provide insight into how forage fish populations respond to the persistence of or recovery from the recent Pacific marine heat wave.

In FY19, we will continue acoustic-trawl sampling for the integrated predator-prey survey in PWS during fall (Sept/Oct), and seabird diet sampling at Middleton Island during spring/summer (Apr-Aug). We are requesting additional funds for FY19-21 to reinstate summer aerial forage fish surveys in PWS previously conducted by the Herring Research and Monitoring Program (HRM). The additional funding would provide the needed species composition and age class validation during HRM aerial forage fish surveys and extend the aerial and acoustic forage fish time-series that began during the North Pacific marine heat wave in 2014-16 and will be used to monitor the recovery of middle-trophic level species following a major Gulf-wide perturbation.

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Proposal: View PDF (1,017 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2019

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2019

Annual Report: 2019: Due 03/01/2020

Final Report: Draft Final Report Due 4/15/20

Publications from this Project: None Available